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Version 2.1 for Mac OS X and Windows XP

Frequently Asked Questions

Below find answers to the most frequently asked questions regarding the installation, use and concepts behind the Kaleidica. Got another question? Please don't hesitate to ask. Contact us at questions@kaleidica.com

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between the Mandala and Professional Versions of The Kaleidica v.2.1 ?

2. How is the resolution of Kaleidica artwork determined?

3. How can I up the resolution of Kaleidica output for print media and other high resolution formats?

4. How can I make my own brushes in Kaleidica?


What is the difference between the Mandala and Professional Versions of The Kaleidica v.2?

The Mandala and Professional are identical in every respect except that the Professional version allows you to output sequentially numbered files of each frame of an animation. With that you can make professional videos (Quicktime, AVI, DVD) and film using post production software like Adobe Premiere. That said, with the Mandala Version you can still animate, but the playback uses the Kaleidica's own script format so that playback is instantaneous. You can order the Mandala Edition and update later for no additional fee except shipping.

How is the resolution of Kaleidica artwork determined?

The Kaleidica borrows a trick from the old Pixar computers of the 80's. Yes, Pixar once made computers for the imaging market and their computers implemented their proprietary software by using the screen memory as processor memory. As routines would run you could actually see the intermediate results on the screen. The video memory was fast (and still is... in fact much faster) and back then it was a convenient temporary place to put intermediate calculations.

That said, the Kaleidica similarly uses the video memory to do all its processing too. So your artwork is limited by the resolution of your monitor. The minimum resolution that will run the Kaleidica is 800x600 pixels. But most monitors these days are running at 1024x768 pixels. I have a Mac G5 with a 23" cinema LCD display that is 1900x1280 pixels and there are monitors that go up to 3Kx2K pixels and beyond. So, the higher the resolution of your monitor the higher the resolution of Kaleidica output.

Make sure your monitor is set to the highest settings possible to get the highest resolution output from Kaleidica.

For Windows XP, right click on the desktop and choose properties. Then choose the setting tab. There you will see how to adjust your resolution. If you select a resolution beyond the resolution supported by your video card the system will revert back to the original resolution in 15 seconds. Go ahead and adjust the resolution until you find the right configuration for your computer hardware and Kaleidica.

For Mac OS X, click on the apple and go to System Preferences. Click on Display and adjust the resolution of the screen in the Display dialog that appears.

Generally speaking, the higher the resolution of your output the better it will look in print.

How can I up the resolution of Kaleidica output for print media and other high resolution formats?

Kaleidica uses the screen as temporary graphic memory, sort of like a blackboard, to generate imagery. The lowest resolution possible with Kaleidica is 800x600 pixels.

Using higher resolution monitors or changing the resolution of your monitor to the highest possible resolution is the quickest way to up the resolution of Kaleidica output. The resolution of your monitor is limited by the resolution capacity of your monitor and the memory of your graphic card (the IC board that controls all communication between your computer and monitor). So you many want to consider installing a new graphic card with more memory and/or purchasing a new high-resolution monitor to up the resolution of Kaleidica output.

Typically, today’s monitors can be set to resolutions approaching 1900x1024 pixels and even higher. I run one of my low-end Windows machines at 1152x864 pixels even though I could go up to 1280x1024 because the refresh rate drops below 72Hz which causes unacceptable flicker. This is a case where a new video card would work wonders.

In Windows you set the screen resolution by right clicking on the background, clicking on properties, and then clicking on settings.

In Macintosh OS X you go to the apple click on preferences and then display.

Many graphic artists have asked about going to higher resolutions for print or other applications. Although YANTRAM is limited to the resolution of the monitor there are other ways to boost the resolution. These are outlined as follows.

To utilize the following advanced methods of upping the resolution of Kaleidica you will need image processing software like Adobe Photoshop. There are many such programs available and they are invaluable for creating and manipulating imagery of all kinds. For the purpose of this discussion I will discuss techniques as generally as possible and where specific tools or processes are used I will assume that Photoshop is the image processor being used.

TECHNIQUE #1 Resample and Sharpen

Kaleidica on my system outputs 1022x864 pixels which is high enough resolution for computer software and web applications but doesn’t quick make it for most print applications. For print you usually need at least 150 pixels per inch. This means that an 8”x8” image will require 1200x1200 pixels and a 16”x16” image will require 2400x2400 pixels.

Take the output from Kaleidica into Photoshop (or equivalent) and resize the image. In Photoshop this is accomplished by clicking on the Image menu item, and going to image size. Click on “resample Image” and set the new pixel dimensions to your desired output. Photoshop will then perform a resampling using a mathematical formula that looks at the nearest pixels in the original image that occur near the pixels in the new higher resolution image. There are many mathematical ways of doing this but the best and most common is “bi-cubic” which can be selected inside Photoshop. II suggest you use that for starters.

When the resampling is complete the new image may appear slightly out of focus or “soft”. To correct for this soft effect use the “sharpen” filters in Photoshop (or equivalent). You can experiment with the many variations and techniques for applying the sharpen filters to get the results that best match your needs. I usually use the simple “sharpen” filter in Photoshop.

TECHNIQUE #2 Four-fold Symmetry

If the art your creating using Kaleidica is bilaterally symmetrical in two directions (the top is the mirror of the bottom and the left is the mirror of the right) then you can use this procedure to up the resolution.

Place the centroid in the bottom right corner (or any other corner) of the screen and create your art for one quadrant. Then take your saved art into Photoshop (or other image processor).

Once in Photoshop you will need to resize your canvas so that the image is four time the original image size (twice the horizontal direction and twice the vertical). Put the original image in the upper left quadrant of the enlarged canvas if your centroid in Kaleidica was in the bottom right corner.

Now copy and past the original image on to the same image in Photoshop. This will create a new layer with the pasted image on top of the original. Use the rotate tool (Image>Rotate Canvas) and flip the new layer horizontally. This will give you a mirror image of the original.

Now position the rotated image so that the centroid of the original image aligns exactly with the new layer image. You will probably want to zoom in close to the centroid to fine-tune the position of the new layer.

Once the image is exactly aligned combine it with the original image by using the “flatten Image” command in the layers pull-down menu (black right-pointing arrow in the upper right corner of the layers dialog box).

Now repeat the process outline above only this time when you copy and paste the image use the rotate tool to flip the new layer vertically. Position as before and you will have perfectly doubled your Yantram output resolution.

I have used this techniques to create full double-truck magazine cover images that had sterling full resolution.

TECHNIQUE #3 Rotation Variation on Technique #2

If your image has another, non-bi-laterally symmetrical, symmetry… like say 7 fold symmetry, you can use this variation on Technique #2.

Create your art with the centroid in the corner and move it into Photoshop as before.

Now this time you will enlarge the canvas and make a copy of the image as before only you will rotate the new layer a specific number of degrees corresponding to the symmetry you have in mind. So, for example, if your symmetry is seven-fold you will need to rotate newly created layers in increments of 360 degrees divided by 7 or 51.43 degrees. After each rotation place the new layer so the centroids align as before. Do this six times and your new high-resolution version is complete.

TECHNIQUE #4 Reprocessing in Kaleidica

This techniques involves resampling as in Technique #1 above and then taking a window out of the center of the newly created higher resolution image, moving that window back into Kaleidica, and then reworking the center part of the image to create higher resolution features. When you move the new image back into Photoshop you can drop it onto the original (but higher resolution) image. This will provide you with a delightfully high resolution central portion of the image.


As you can see, there are many ways to up the resolution of Kaleidica output… I have found all of these to be highly successful.

But the more successful technique is to use some or all of the techniques in combination.

So you might use the four-fold technique to get 4 times the total number of pixels, then resample to up the resolution another 4 times, and then take the central portion of this image back into Kaleidica to create superb detail in the central portion of the image.

Using these techniques together can yield output that is high enough resolution for posters and murals.

How can I make my own brushes in Kaleidica?

Making a brush for Kaleidica is relatively easy. You will need Adobe Photoshop or equivalent and imagery, either a photograph or other image in digital form. Your image can be of anything, a digital picture of a person, common object, or abstract creation. Brushes can also be made from Kaleidica output as easily as from other digital photographs.

Before the actual steps of making your own brush are revealed some preliminary concepts of how digital images are formed should be discussed.

Digital images are typically comprised of red, green, and blue channels.Each pixel (picture element on the screen or comprising the digital image) is colored by the intensity values assigned to each of these channels. So, for example, if a pixel is to be colored yellow then the values for the red and green channels will both be high and the value for the blue channel will be low. Likewise, if a pixel is to appear white, then the values for all channels (red, green, and blue) will be high. (NOTE: It may seem counter intuitive for red and green to make yellow but in an additive color system like a television or computer screen red+green=yellow, red+blue=magenta, and green+blue=cyan.

In addition to the red, green and blue channels it is possible to have a forth channel called the "alpha" channel. The alpha channel tells Kaleidica what portions of the digital image to paint with and which part to leave out. For example: suppose we have the image of a flower and we want to turn the flower into a brush. Certainly the image around the outside of the flower would need to be masked out so that we would only draw with the flower part of the image. The alpha channel will need to be colored white where the flower is and black in those areas of the image outside the actual image of the flower. The alpha channel works as a mask to tell Kaleidica which part of the image is actually the brush and which part is not.

There are many ways to create an alpha channel inside Adobe Photoshop. In the upper right corner of the "Channels" window you will find a small black arrow pointing to the right in the upper right corner. Click here to open the option list for the channels tab. Move the mouse to the "create new channel" option and click. A new channel will be created filled with the background color (usually black). Now turn on all four channels and you will see the original image with a red cast painted over it. Choose the color white as the foreground color, select the brush tool, and begin to paint on the alpha channel. Every place you color white will allow the image to show through. Every place left black will be invisible when the image is used as a brush in Kaleidica.

Note that Kaleidica expects all brushes to be square. I usually make brushes 300x300 pixels or 400X400 pixels. Occassionally I'll go as high as 500x500 pixels but drawing with a brush of this size usually slows down Kaleidica's otherwise. Use the "Canvas Size" tool in Photoshop to adjust

When completed, save the brush in photoshop format. Also, save the brush in a folder inside the imageLibs folder. When you are in Kaleidica you can select this new image from the "Select New Brush" option. Now you are ready to paint with your new brush.

All images copyright © 2004 by C.E. Henderson, All Rights Reserved, Any and all reproduction by permission only.
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